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Ultraverse Revisited: Hardcase #6

ultraverse_revisited

hardcase_0006Friends and Enemies, Part Two: Returning Favors

Writer: Jim Hudnall
Penciller: Scott Benefiel
Inkers: Mike Christian & Jordi Ensign
Letterer: Tim Eldred
Color Design: Moose Baumann
Interior Colorists: Family Fugue
Editor: Hank Kanalz
Cover Date: November 1993
Cover Price: $1.95

After being stabbed and looking like he was bleeding out, we open this issue with Hardcase having an out of body experience, watching Choice find his body, fend off Hardwire, and try to get Tom to a hospital. While having this experience, Hardcase–Tom–is told by Linda (Starburst) to go back while he can. After waking in a hospital bed, Tom and Choice are visited by an old friend…who turns out to be an "old friend" in The Alternate. She claims she’s trying to help them survive, while "The Man Who Isn’t a Man" prepares to send agents to the moon to get something for him that he can destroy all Ultras with. Thanks to his remarkable healing, Hardcase is up and ready before long to re-confront Hardwire, and being prepared this time, succeeds. When police show up, Hardcase dislocates both of the villains arms, so that he can’t use his fingers against them. After this all wraps up, Tom lays in bed with his mind in overdrive, reflecting on the evening–Choice, as well as what he actually saw while dying.

The art for this title has been rather uneven…but it worked well in this issue, taken alone. The cover is nicely detailed, with Hardcase looking like Hardcase…even though it has him seemingly deliberately looking AWAY FROM the attacking villain. Within the issue, the art seems good as a whole. It seems slightly "off" to me–but then, my primary memory of the title and its art comes from the first issue, so that’s what I tend to judge a lot of the art against. It’s better than a couple of the other early issues, though, and better than I remember some of the later issues. The story’s not hard to follow–the action of what’s going on–and that’s the main thing. It’s nothing to write home about, but nothing I’m gonna really complain about.

Story-wise, we get some solid follow-up on Hardcase’s injury–and that while he’s nearly invulnerable, he can be hurt; but he also heals much faster, so even dire damage isn’t necessarily fatal. That said, we get some hints at forthcoming answers for Choice, and knowing what I do of the Ultraverse, it’s easy to pick up on the references to the moon and such (all the more after seeing them in Prime–which is another "core" Ultraverse title as one of the three originals). We get some resolution to this initial encounter with Hardwire; foreshadowing of stuff to come, and generally have a decently well-rounded ’90s comic that moves everything forward as an "episode" rather than being just a 1/6th slice of some singular graphic novel the way most modern/2018/2019 comics seem to be.

As with many ’90s comics and other Ultraverse issues, one could pick up on context simply reading this issue…but it’s not one I’d recommend in isolation or as some singular target issue. It bridges the previous issue and what’s to come in Break-Thru, contributing a bit of setup for that event and preparing us for Hardcase joining the greater stage of the Ultraverse as a whole. This is well worth a 25-50 cent purchase to have along with the earlier issues…but you’re better off grabbing the first issue than this if you just want a single issue of Hardcase.

hardcase_0006_blogtrailer

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Bargain Bin Haul – Week of July 23rd, 2014

Along with this week’s huge new issues haul, I also bought quite a few quarter-bin issues.

I picked up a number of Vampire comics for a friend, as well as most of the Call of Duty minis from Marvel from 2002 or so (The Precinct, The Wagon, The Brotherhood) for another friend.

quarter_bin_ultraverse_1

I was pleasantly surprised to find copies of the Ultraverse Premiere issues of Hardcase and Night Man, as I want duplicates so I can file Ultraverse Premiere as its own thing in my Ultraverse collection rather than having the series only dispersed as the flipbooks to all the others. I also snagged Night Man 22, and since the Hardcase issue was part 1 of the 3-part NM-E rematch, I picked those issues up as well.

quarter_bin_superman_1

I love the cover of Man of Tomorrow #1, and much prefer this “newsstand edition” cover to the Wedding Album. And for a mere 25 cents I wasn’t about to leave Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow there.

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I was rather surprised to find this first-print newsstand edition copy of Superman #75 still there, so snagged it, as I’ve made it a point to snag all first print copies of the issue I come across in 25-cent bins. Wasn’t til I got it out at home that I noticed the huge crease down the center like the issue was folded in half–perhaps this had been a subscription copy where the postal delivery person folded it around envelopes when sticking it into a box. I’m also a sucker for chromium covers, so snagged yet another copy of Superman 82; and since they were there, snagged #100 and Adventures of Superman #505 for the shiny cover.

All in all a very satisfying bargain bin haul!

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